Auto sales were off to slow start in January, which was anticipated. For the second consecutive year, new-vehicle retail sales are expected to come in 2.7 percent lower than a year ago, according to a recent forecast from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.
At the same time, the average transaction price in January was $32,169, up from $31,422 a year ago.
With dealer lots now full of 2018 models, most of the best deals will be on older vehicles that remain. There also tend to be larger incentives on sedans and large pickup trucks than on SUVs, Jones said.
However, don’t expect incentive offers to be as large as they were a couple of months ago.
In January, the average incentive was $3,657, according to Edmunds research. While that amount has likely ticked a bit higher in February, the average incentive in December was more than $4,300.
“At the end of the calendar year, those big discounts are there to make room for next year’s models,” Jones said. “They don’t need to do that yet for 2019 models.”
While you might be tempted to wait and see if incentives climb higher as the year passes, make sure the cost of doing so is worth it.
“Sometimes trying to delay your purchase to wait for better deals could cost more if you have repairs or pay [another driver] to get you everywhere,” Jones said.